5. Report Date GUIDELINES FOR EVALUATING ROUTINE OVERWEIGHT TRUCK ROUTES. 8. Performing Organization Report No. Emmanuel G. Fernando and Jeong-Ho Oh

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1 1. Report No. FHWA/TX-04/ P2 2. Government Accession No. 3. Recipient's Catalog No. 4. Title and Subtitle 5. Report Date GUIDELINES FOR EVALUATING ROUTINE OVERWEIGHT TRUCK ROUTES May Performing Organization Code 7. Author(s) 8. Performing Organization Report No. Emmanuel G. Fernando and Jeong-Ho Oh Product P2 9. Performing Organization Name and Address 10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS) Texas Transportation Institute The Texas A&M University System 11. Contract or Grant No. College Station, Texas Project No Sponsoring Agency Name and Address 13. Type of Report and Period Covered Texas Department of Transportation Product Research and Technology Implementation Office 14. Sponsoring Agency Code P.O. Box 5080 Austin, Texas Supplementary Notes Research performed in cooperation with the Texas Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration. Research Project Title: Characterize the Effects of Permitted Overweight Loads on SH4/48 at the Port of Brownsville 16. Abstract The impact of increasing overweight truck loads on Texas highways is a growing concern within the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Since pavement performance is significantly influenced by the magnitude and frequency of truck traffic loads, guidelines are needed for evaluating the capacity of existing highways to sustain routine overweight truck traffic over a specified performance period. The problem of overweight truck loads has been investigated in related TxDOT projects that led to the development of analysis procedures for evaluating superheavy load routes and load-zoning requirements. Researchers used results from these TxDOT projects to develop pavement evaluation guidelines for routine overweight truck routes that are presented in this report. In this project, researchers developed a two-stage framework that is based on using existing TxDOT capabilities for pavement evaluation, including nondestructive test methods and pavement analysis programs. Level I involves the use of pavement evaluation charts to identify the best possible route from among the alternatives considered and to determine what additional tests and analyses are needed for Level II. It is primarily intended as a screening tool to assist the engineer in identifying candidate overweight truck routes and potential problem areas. Level II involves the application of the Overweight Truck Route Analysis (OTRA) program to evaluate the structural adequacy of an existing route to carry routine overweight truck traffic over the specified performance period. Additionally, OTRA may be used to estimate the thickness of asphalt concrete overlay required to carry the expected number of truck axle loads over the specified design life based on a user-prescribed reliability level. This report presents guidelines on the application of the methodology to evaluate the suitability of using an existing route for routine overweight truck use. 17. Key Words 18. Distribution Statement Overweight Truck Routes, Overweight Loads, Pavement Evaluation, Performance Prediction, Unit Service Life Consumption, Rutting, Fatigue Cracking 19. Security Classif. (of this report) 20. Security Classif. (of this page) 21. No. of Pages 60 Form DOT F (8-72) Reproduction of completed page authorized 22. Price

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3 GUIDELINES FOR EVALUATING ROUTINE OVERWEIGHT TRUCK ROUTES by Emmanuel G. Fernando Research Engineer Texas Transportation Institute and Jeong-Ho Oh Graduate Research Assistant Texas Transportation Institute Product P2 Project Number Research Project Title: Characterize the Effects of Permitted Overweight Loads on SH4/48 at the Port of Brownsville Sponsored by the Texas Department of Transportation In Cooperation with the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration May 2004 TEXAS TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE The Texas A&M University System College Station, TX

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5 DISCLAIMER The contents of this report reflect the views of the authors, who are responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), or the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation, nor is it intended for construction, bidding, or permit purposes. The engineer in charge of the project was Dr. Emmanuel G. Fernando, P.E. # v

6 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The work reported herein was conducted as part of a research project sponsored by the Texas Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration. The objectives of the project were to characterize the effects of routine overweight truck traffic on SH4/48 in Brownsville and to develop guidelines for pavement design of routine overweight truck routes. The authors gratefully acknowledge the steadfast support and guidance of the project director, Mr. Joe Leidy, of the Materials and Pavements Section of TxDOT. Mr. Leidy ran TxDOT s ground penetrating radar equipment on SH4/48 as part of the efforts to characterize the pavement sections along the route. In addition, the contributions of the following individuals are noted and sincerely appreciated: Mr. Luis Carlos Peralez of the Pharr District provided invaluable assistance to the data collection activities conducted along SH4/48. Mr. Peralez provided staff and equipment for collection of falling weight deflectometer (FWD), multi-depth deflectometer and profile data at different times during the project; instrumentation of pavement sections to measure deflections under truck wheel loads; and collection of material samples for laboratory testing. The pavement management staff of the Pharr District, in particular, Mr. Rene Castro, collected FWD measurements, profile data and asphalt concrete cores along SH4/48. Mr. Niño Gutierrez and Ms. Jo Saban of the Brownsville Navigation District provided researchers access to the port for monitoring permitted trucks and static axle weight data on these trucks. Mr. Richard Peters, Mr. Jeff Reding, and Ms. Carolyn Markert provided weigh-inmotion (WIM) data that were used to characterize the existing truck traffic along SH4/48. vi

7 TABLE OF CONTENTS Page LIST OF FIGURES... viii LIST OF TABLES...x CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION...1 Background...1 Scope of Report...3 II PROCEDURE FOR OVERWEIGHT TRUCK ROUTE ANALYSIS...5 Methodology for Analyzing Overweight Truck Routes...5 III LEVEL I ANALYSIS PROCEDURE...15 Introduction...15 Materials Used in Developing Level I Charts...15 Asphalt Surface...16 Weak Base...16 Stabilized Base...18 Weak Subgrade...18 Stiff Subgrade...18 Assumptions on Traffic Loads...19 Analyses Conducted to Develop Charts...21 Guidelines for Classifying Pavements for Level I Analysis...27 REFERENCES...33 APPENDIX: LEVEL I PAVEMENT ANALYSIS CHARTS...35 vii

8 LIST OF FIGURES FIGURE Page 1 Overweight Truck Route along SH4/ Types of Loads Carried by Permitted Trucks Data Flow through Pavement Structural Evaluation Process in OTRA Relationship between Modulus and CBR (Heukelom and Klomp, 1962) Truck Classes Considered in Developing Level I Charts Effect of Truck Distribution on the Predicted Unit Service Life Consumption Based on Fatigue Cracking (Group 1 Pavements) Effect of Truck Distribution on the Predicted Unit Service Life Consumption Based on Fatigue Cracking (Group 4 Pavements) Effect of Truck Distribution on the Predicted Unit Service Life Consumption Based on Rutting (Group 1 Pavements) Effect of Truck Distribution on the Predicted Unit Service Life Consumption Based on Rutting (Group 4 Pavements) Establishing Pavement Layering Using DCP Data...30 A1 Chart for Predicting Unit Service Life Consumption Based on Fatigue Cracking (Group 1 Pavements)...37 A2 Chart for Predicting Unit Service Life Consumption Based on Fatigue Cracking (Group 2 Pavements)...38 A3 Chart for Predicting Unit Service Life Consumption Based on Fatigue Cracking (Group 3 Pavements)...39 A4 Chart for Predicting Unit Service Life Consumption Based on Fatigue Cracking (Group 4 Pavements)...40 A5 Chart for Predicting Unit Service Life Consumption Based on Rutting when Percent Overweight Trucks 20 (Group 1 Pavements)...41 A6 Chart for Predicting Unit Service Life Consumption Based on Rutting when Percent Overweight Trucks 20 (Group 2 Pavements)...42 viii

9 FIGURE Page A7 Chart for Predicting Unit Service Life Consumption Based on Rutting when Percent Overweight Trucks 20 (Group 3 Pavements)...43 A8 Chart for Predicting Unit Service Life Consumption Based on Rutting when Percent Overweight Trucks 20 (Group 4 Pavements)...44 A9 Chart for Predicting Unit Service Life Consumption Based on Rutting when Percent Overweight Trucks > 20 (Group 1 Pavements)...45 A10 Chart for Predicting Unit Service Life Consumption Based on Rutting when Percent Overweight Trucks > 20 (Group 2 Pavements)...46 A11 Chart for Predicting Unit Service Life Consumption Based on Rutting when Percent Overweight Trucks > 20 (Group 3 Pavements)...47 A12 Chart for Predicting Unit Service Life Consumption Based on Rutting when Percent Overweight Trucks > 20 (Group 4 Pavements)...48 A13 Chart for Predicting Pavement Life Given Unit Service Life Consumption and Expected Number of Trucks/Year...49 ix

10 LIST OF TABLES TABLE Page 1 Weight Limits Used for Permitting Trucks along SH4/ Input Data Requirements for Pavement Structural Evaluation Using OTRA Material Parameters Assumed in Developing Charts Axle Weights Used in Developing Level I Charts Typical CBR Ranges for Various Soils Classification of Pavement Materials Based on DCP Penetration Rate Illustration of Level I Analysis...31 x

11 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION BACKGROUND The impact of increasing overweight truck loads on Texas highways is a growing concern within the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Since pavement performance is significantly influenced by the magnitude and frequency of truck traffic loads, guidelines are needed for evaluating the capacity of existing highways to sustain routine overweight truck traffic over a specified performance period. The problem of overweight truck loads has been investigated in related TxDOT projects that led to the development of analysis procedures for evaluating super heavy load routes (Jooste and Fernando, 1995) and load-zoning (Fernando and Liu, 2001). Researchers used results from these TxDOT projects to develop the pavement evaluation guidelines for routine overweight truck routes that are presented in this report. The present project, , stemmed from recent legislative action that permitted trucks with gross vehicle weights (GVWs) of up to 125,000 lbs to routinely use a route in south Texas along the Mexican border. This route proceeds from the Veterans International Bridge to the Port of Brownsville via US77, SH4, and SH48. The portion of the route along US77 is on a new concrete pavement and includes an elevated structure over half of its length. Most of the permitted truck route runs along SH4 and SH48 in Brownsville. This project focused on studying the behavior and monitoring the performance of the asphalt concrete pavement sections along SH4/48 that are subjected to routine overweight truck traffic. About 95 percent of the permitted trucks originate from the Port of Brownsville, where the route starts at the FM511 bridge and runs along SH48 until its intersection with Boca Chica Boulevard. From there, truckers proceed along SH4 up to the US77 intersection, where they turn left to go to the Veterans International Bridge and into Mexico. Figure 1 shows the permitted truck route investigated in this project. The payloads carried by permitted trucks are mostly coiled metal sheets, oil, and powder mineral (fluorite), which are transported from the Port of Brownsville to Mexico and vice versa. Figure 2 illustrates the types of payloads transported along the route, which was established in response to the need expressed by truckers to haul cargo at their trucks operating capacities to improve operational efficiency. This need meant hauling in excess of 1

12 Figure 1. Overweight Truck Route along SH4/48. Figure 2. Types of Loads Carried by Permitted Trucks. 2

13 legal limits, thus requiring permits to be issued. Table 1 presents the weight limits used along the route. The permit fee is US $30 each way. From the time TxDOT first issued the permits in March 1998 to the end of 2002, about US $4.5 million were collected from permit sales, based on figures provided by the Brownsville Navigation District. The navigation district retains 15 percent of the funds to cover administrative costs, and the remainder goes to the TxDOT Pharr District to pay for route maintenance. On average, about 2700 permitted overweight trucks use the route per month. Considering that the route was not designed to sustain routine overweight truck traffic, the potential for accelerated pavement deterioration exists. Since it is likely that TxDOT will receive requests for similar permitted routes in the future, it becomes prudent to study the effects of routine overweight loads on SH4/48 and to develop guidelines for evaluating and/or designing routine overweight truck routes. SCOPE OF REPORT This report presents guidelines for evaluating whether existing pavements can sustain routine overweight truck traffic. It is organized into the following chapters: Chapter I provides a background to the project. It identifies the overweight truck route and the types of payloads transported by permitted trucks; explains why the route was established; presents data on the number of permitted trucks that use the route; and provides the impetus for conducting this research project. Chapter II presents guidelines for evaluating the suitability of using an existing route for routine overweight truck use. For this purpose, researchers adopted a two-stage framework that is based on using existing TxDOT capabilities for pavement evaluation, including nondestructive test methods and pavement analysis programs. Chapter III documents the development of the pavement evaluation charts incorporated in Level I of the two-stage framework presented in Chapter II. It explains the application of the charts and provides guidelines on their use. Finally, the appendix presents the Level I pavement evaluation charts. 3

14 Table 1. Weight Limits Used for Permitting Trucks along SH4/48. Weight Criterion Weight Limit (kips) Single axle 25 Tandem axle 46 Tridem axle 60 4-axle group 70 5-axle group 81.4 Gross vehicle weight 125 4

15 CHAPTER II PROCEDURE FOR OVERWEIGHT TRUCK ROUTE ANALYSIS The procedure researchers developed to evaluate overweight truck routes has two levels: Level I involves the use of pavement evaluation charts and requires less information from the engineer compared to Level II. It is primarily intended as a screening tool to assist the engineer in identifying candidate overweight truck routes and potential problem areas. Chapter III discusses the charts in more detail. Level II involves the application of nondestructive test methods and pavement analysis programs to characterize the route for the purpose of using the Overweight Truck Route Analysis (OTRA) program developed in this research project. OTRA is a modification of the Program for Load-Zoning Analysis (PLZA) that is documented in earlier research reports by Fernando and Liu (1999, 2001). In this project, researchers from the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) modified PLZA to include the capability for predicting pavement response under triple axles and to evaluate the thickness of overlay required to sustain routine overweight truck traffic for the userspecified design period. Instructions on using the computer program are given in the user s guide prepared by Fernando and Liu (2004). This chapter presents guidelines on the application of the methodology to evaluate the suitability of using an existing route for routine overweight truck use. METHODOLOGY FOR ANALYZING OVERWEIGHT TRUCK ROUTES As stated previously, the first stage is primarily intended as a screening tool to identify candidate overweight truck routes and potential problem areas where additional data collection and analysis may be warranted. This stage includes the following steps: Establish the expected axle load magnitudes and frequency of permitted truck traffic. Identify possible routes that may be used by truckers to haul their payloads from the point of origin to the point of destination. Establish the pavement layer thicknesses and material types found along the routes. 5

16 Use the Level I charts to conduct a preliminary assessment to identify the best possible route from among the alternatives considered, and determine what additional tests and analyses are needed for Level II. Estimates of the expected axle load magnitudes and the frequency of permitted truck traffic can be obtained from the truckers that want to haul cargo in excess of legal load limits. They can provide information on: the types, sizes, and weights of payloads; the quantity of payloads to be transported on a daily basis; and the truck configurations they plan to use for hauling. The above list is relevant in identifying candidate routes for permitting overweight trucks. Other factors to consider are the: presence of load-zoned roads and/or bridges; presence of overhead structures that place limits on the sizes of payloads that can be moved; route geometry (e.g., number of lanes, lane widths); and pavement condition based on visual surveys and/or data from the Pavement Management Information System (PMIS) database. The presence of load-zoned bridges generally precludes the use of a route for servicing routine overweight truck traffic or the one-time movement of a superheavy load. On the other hand, it is not uncommon to see load-zoned roads used by permitted truck traffic, such as oil field trucks, timber trucks, and even superheavy loads. While it is not advisable to permit overweight trucks on load-zoned roads, the need to transport goods considered essential to the economic livelihood of an area or region often overrides this concern, particularly if no alternative routes exist that can accommodate the expected sizes and weights of loads. For example, the presence of overhead structures often dictates the route selection for moving overweight and/or oversized trucks. The engineer should also consider pavement condition data along with observations of the existing truck traffic to identify candidate routes for permitted overweight trucks. The presence of areas exhibiting load-associated cracks along the wheel paths, permanent deformation, and/or base failures would suggest the need to look for other routes, or to repair existing distressed areas prior to permitting routine overweight truck traffic. Note that the permitted trucks constitute an addition to trucks that already use the route, and that additional 6

17 and heavier wheel loads would accelerate the deterioration already taking place under existing truck traffic. Once candidate routes are established, the engineer can further screen these routes using the Level I charts discussed in Chapter III of this report. Relative to Level II, application of these charts requires minimal information from the engineer. For each segment of a candidate route, the appropriate charts are used to estimate service life given the existing surface and base thicknesses, and the yearly number of trucks that are expected to use that segment. The charts are grouped according to the criterion used to estimate service life, i.e., fatigue cracking and rutting. Within each group, the charts are further classified according to the strength of the base and subgrade materials found along a given segment. Chapter III discusses the Level I charts in more detail. From the Level I analysis, the engineer can establish a ranking of the different routes based on predicted service life. The engineer should then consider performing a Level II analysis for the highest and second ranked routes. The Level II analysis is conducted using the OTRA program developed in this research project. Pavement engineers can use the OTRA program to evaluate the adequacy of an existing route to sustain routine overweight truck loads over a specified design period. Additionally, the program can estimate the thickness of asphalt concrete overlay required to carry the cumulative truck axle loads expected over the design life based on fatigue and rut depth criteria. For this purpose, the program uses the predicted horizontal strain at the bottom of the asphalt layer and the vertical strain at the top of the subgrade with the Asphalt Institute (1982) equations for fatigue cracking and rutting to predict service life for the given pavement and loading conditions. To use the program, the engineer must first characterize the route to be analyzed. This step requires characterizing the truck traffic on the route, determining pavement layer thicknesses, and evaluating material properties. Table 2 summarizes the input requirements of the computer program, while Figure 3 illustrates the flow of data through the pavement structural evaluation process. Truck traffic data can be requested from the Transportation Planning and Programming (TP&P) Division of TxDOT. The beginning and ending average daily traffic (ADT) values, directional factor, and percent trucks are normally reported by TP&P in Traffic Analysis for Highway Design sheets that it provides in response to requests 7

18 Table 2. Input Data Requirements for Pavement Structural Evaluation Using OTRA. Layer thicknesses Data Requirements Nonlinear, stress-dependent material parameters, K 1, K 2, and K 3 Truck traffic characteristics < Beginning and ending ADTs for design period < directional factor < percent trucks < average axles per truck < percent single axles < percent tandem axle groups < percent triple axle groups < design single axle load < design tandem axle load < design triple axle load Methods of Getting Data!Ground penetrating radar!coring!dynamic cone penetrometer!falling weight deflectometer!resilient modulus test, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO T )!Correlations with physical soil properties!contact TP&P!Truck counts and classifications!axle load measurements from the districts or the Materials and Pavements Section of TxDOT=s Construction Division. These input values are used, along with data on average axle groups per truck and the percentages of single, tandem, and triple axle groups to determine the expected cumulative number of load applications for each axle group over the specified design period. OTRA permits the user to input the truck distribution by vehicle class to determine the average axle groups per truck and the percentages of single, tandem, and triple axle assemblies. TP&P can assist in establishing this truck distribution for a given route. As indicated in Figure 3, pavement layer thicknesses can be determined nondestructively using ground penetrating radar (GPR) supplemented, as necessary, by coring or dynamic cone penetrometer (DCP) measurements. Researchers strongly suggest a GPR survey on the route to establish the variations in layer thicknesses along the route to be analyzed. This survey should be conducted at the beginning of the evaluation for the following purposes: 8

19 Figure 3. Data Flow through Pavement Structural Evaluation Process in OTRA. 9

20 to detect possible changes in pavement cross-section along the route and divide the route into analysis segments, as appropriate; to establish the need for cores or DCP data to supplement the radar survey and identify locations where coring or DCP measurements should be made; and to establish the locations of falling weight deflectometer (FWD) measurements consistent with pavement section changes identified from the radar data on the route. Additionally, a video log can be made during the radar survey to provide a record of the pavement surface condition at the time of the evaluation. GPR surveys can be scheduled with the Materials and Pavements Section, which is staffed with engineers trained to operate, maintain, and analyze radar data for pavement evaluation purposes. The engineer should use GPR data to subdivide the route into homogeneous segments based on the predicted layer thicknesses. This segmentation may be accomplished using the cumulative difference method as described by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (1993) and as illustrated by Fernando and Chua (1994). Because of the strong influence of layer thickness on predicted pavement response and layer moduli backcalculated from FWD deflections, it is important to establish the variability in layer thickness along the route to minimize the inaccuracies caused by layer thickness variations. The segments delineated from the GPR data are subsequently used to plan the FWD survey, the purpose of which is to characterize the materials that comprise the pavement in terms of the elastic modulus. Districts now routinely perform these surveys for pavement design, forensic investigations, load-zoning, and superheavy load analysis. FWD data are collected on each homogeneous segment following the protocol established by TxDOT (1996). For asphalt concrete pavements with surface thicknesses greater than 3 inches, pavement temperature measurements should be made to correct backcalculated asphalt concrete moduli to a standard temperature. For this purpose, TxDOT s FWDs are equipped with cordless drills and temperature probes so that asphalt layer temperatures can be measured at least once at the beginning and again at the end of the test on a given segment. Researchers recommend taking temperatures at mid-depth of the existing asphalt concrete layer. Temperature data are necessary to correct the backcalculated moduli to a reference temperature of 75 EF in the analysis program. Because of the influence of the surface modulus on predicted service life, it is important that the pavement 10

21 temperature is known with a reasonable degree of confidence so that the asphalt concrete modulus can be appropriately determined. FWD data collection may take some time depending on the frequency of testing and the length of the segment to be surveyed. In certain applications, taking pavement temperature measurements at the beginning and end of the segment will not provide enough information to consider the spatial and temporal variation in pavement temperatures during the survey. For these cases, researchers recommend taking infrared surface temperatures at least on every other station, so that pavement temperatures can be estimated using the Texas- Long Term Pavement Performance (LTPP) equation implemented in the Modulus Temperature Correction Program developed by Fernando, Liu, and Ryu (2001). This equation permits prediction of pavement temperatures for a given depth within the asphalt layer corresponding to the date and time of FWD testing. Use of this equation requires the previous day s maximum and minimum air temperatures, which are readily obtained from the local weather service and will provide a better estimate of the spatial and temporal variation of pavement temperatures along the route surveyed. The pavement temperatures measured at the beginning and end of the segment should verify the temperature predictions from the Texas-LTPP equation. Researchers recommend storing FWD data in a separate file for each segment of the route surveyed, then analyzing each file with the MODULUS program (Michalak and Scullion, 1995) to estimate the elastic moduli of the pavement layers. The output file of the backcalculated moduli for each segment is directly input to the OTRA program to predict whether the existing pavement can sustain the expected number of axle load applications through the end of the specified design period. To predict pavement response under loading, OTRA permits the engineer to model pavement materials as linear or nonlinear. The nonlinear material constants, K 1, K 2, and K 3 in Table 2, are the parameters of the model proposed by Uzan (1985) to characterize the stress dependency of the resilient modulus, E r, of pavement materials. The following equation defines this model: K2 I1 τ oct Er K1 Atm Atm Atm = where I 1 = first stress invariant, τ oct = octahedral shear stress, and K3 (1) 11

22 Atm = the atmospheric pressure = 14.5 psi. Given the principal stresses, σ 1, σ 2, and σ 3, predicted from layered elastic theory, the first stress invariant and octahedral shear stress are determined from the following equations: I 1 = σ 1 + σ 2 + σ 3 (2) τoct = ( σ1 σ2 ) + ( σ2 σ3 ) + ( σ3 σ1 ) (3) 3 The coefficients in Eq. (1) can be obtained from laboratory testing of base and subgrade specimens following the procedure adopted by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. This test method, designated as AASHTO T , is applicable for untreated base/subbase and subgrade materials. Typical values of these coefficients for different materials are provided in the user s guide for the OTRA program (Fernando and Liu, 2004). However, the authors strongly recommend conducting resilient modulus tests on samples of the materials found along the route to determine the coefficients for the nonlinear analysis, should the engineer decide to use this option. In the application of OTRA, the user specifies the K 2 and K 3 values. The program then estimates the coefficient K 1 using these values with the backcalculated layer modulus for the material. The effects of stress dependency are more pronounced for thin-surfaced pavements, making it particularly important to model this behavior for these pavements. For thicker pavements, the effects are less pronounced. The program permits the user to model a given layer as linear elastic or nonlinear elastic. To model materials as linear elastic, the coefficients K 2 and K 3 in Eq. (1) are set to zero. For these materials, K 1 is directly determined from the FWD backcalculated moduli that are input to the computer program. In view of the possible variations in layer thicknesses and materials along the route, different results may be obtained for the different segments established from analysis of the GPR data. The engineer may use these results to: identify segments that will require rehabilitation to sustain the expected number of axle load applications during the specified design period; establish depths of milling and overlays along the route; and identify weak areas (based on analysis of FWD data and visual inspection of the route) that will require additional work, such as base repairs or reconstruction. The engineer should use the data and findings from the pavement structural evaluation to decide whether to permit routine overweight truck traffic, and if so, establish what 12

23 rehabilitation measures are necessary to provide a route that will sustain the expected number of axle load applications over the specified design period, and at what cost. Further instructions on using the OTRA program are given in the user s guide by Fernando and Liu (2004). The next chapter discusses the development and application of the Level I charts for evaluating overweight truck routes. 13

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25 CHAPTER III LEVEL I ANALYSIS PROCEDURE INTRODUCTION In this chapter, an analysis procedure is presented to help engineers make an initial assessment of the structural adequacy of a pavement for routine overweight truck loading. Level I of the two-stage framework for overweight truck route analysis involves the use of pavement evaluation charts to identify the best possible route from among the alternatives considered, and to determine what additional tests and analyses are needed for Level II. Application of the charts requires less data collection and analysis relative to Level II. For this purpose, the engineer can use historical data or information from previous investigations to estimate the truck traffic, and layer thickness and stiffness variations along a given route. Considering the approximate nature of the available information on the route, the Level I charts are by necessity somewhat conservative. The authors recognized that this approach can sometimes lead to inaccurate and unrealistic results. For this reason, the engineer should use the Level I charts only as a screening tool for ranking candidate routes and determining what additional tests and analyses are needed to establish a route for routine overweight truck use. The engineer, of course, has the option of using the OTRA program in Level II directly and collecting the required data for its application. This course of action is particularly appropriate in situations where historical data are suspect or where only one possible route can be considered for routine overweight truck use. Nevertheless, the authors are of the opinion that the Level I charts can be useful in establishing the test and analysis requirements for Level II. For this reason, the engineer should use the charts when their application can help identify the best possible route and establish where additional tests and analyses are warranted. MATERIALS USED IN DEVELOPING LEVEL I CHARTS The research team developed the Level I charts through repetitive runs of the OTRA program. In this work, researchers used OTRA to predict service life for a range of pavement structures that comprise different combinations of material types and layer thicknesses. The development of the charts followed the same approach used in an earlier TxDOT project that developed a procedure for analyzing superheavy load moves. In that project, Jooste and Fernando (1995) prepared a number of charts with which to conduct an 15

26 initial assessment to determine whether a given pavement can sustain one pass of a superheavy load without developing permanent deformation. The superheavy load analysis charts covered a range of pavement structures comprising different combinations of material types and layer thicknesses. The same combinations of material types were used by researchers in the present project to develop the Level I charts for overweight truck route analysis. Table 3 summarizes the material parameters used in developing these charts. In this development, researchers assumed a nonlinear formulation. Thus, the modulus of each material varied with load magnitude and depth into the pavement. Table 3 shows the nonlinearity constants, K 1, K 2, and K 3, characterizing each material and the resulting range of modulus values from the analyses. For a given layer, the range in moduli is used to generically describe the material as stiff, weak, or stabilized. Brief descriptions of the different materials are given in the following subsections. Asphalt Surface As shown in Table 3, the asphalt stiffness varied from approximately 110 to 300 ksi, which the researchers considered to be at the low end of the normal range in asphalt concrete (AC) moduli. This range could represent an AC layer that has undergone some degradation due to existing traffic and environmental effects. In addition, the authors consider this low range to be appropriate for developing the charts considering the approximate nature of the available information upon which the charts are likely to be used. Following earlier work in developing the superheavy load analysis charts, the AC material was modeled as slightly nonlinear, with a K 2 value of 0.1, and a K 3 value of 0.0. Nevertheless, the modulus varied significantly over the thickness of the layer due to the range in the predicted stress variations. Weak Base The condition described as weak base was chosen to represent a non-stabilized, moisture-susceptible, granular material with a moisture content wetter than optimum. In practice, base materials such as crushed limestone, iron ore gravel, shell, or caliche are found that fall into this category. Based on the relationship between Texas Triaxial Class and modulus, the weak base is considered to represent a material with an approximate Texas Triaxial Class of 3.5 to 4.0 (Huang, 1993). In terms of the correlation between modulus and California Bearing Ratio (CBR) developed by Shell (Heukelom and Klomp, 1962) and illustrated in Figure 4, the approximate range of CBR for this material is within 8 to 22, 16

27 Table 3. Material Parameters Assumed in Developing Charts. Layer Nonlinear Material Constants Description K 1 K 2 K 3 Range of Modulus (ksi) Asphalt surface to to 300 Weak base to 33 Stabilized base to 300 Weak subgrade to 10 Stiff subgrade to 20 Figure 4. Relationship between Modulus and CBR (Heukelom and Klomp, 1962). 17

28 corresponding to the line defined by the equation, M r = 1500 CBR, shown in the figure. Considering the spread of the data points about this fitted line, researchers note that the CBR can vary over a wider range of 4 to 50. Thus, users should consider the approximate nature of the relationship shown. The authors recommend the use of FWD data to characterize pavement materials for the purpose of using the Level I charts. Stabilized Base The base or subbase material is often modified with lime or cement to increase strength and load-carrying capacity. The stiffness and cohesion of stabilized materials can vary considerably, depending on the amount of stabilizer used, curing time, and material quality (Little, 1995). Table 3 shows the nonlinearity constants for the stabilized base material that researchers assumed in this project. The chosen constants resulted in stabilized base moduli that range from 145 to 300 ksi. These values are considered to be at the low end of the range in moduli that have been determined from laboratory or FWD data. However, researchers consider the modulus values obtained to be realistic and appropriate in developing the charts as the values reflect to some degree, possible degradation in the stabilized granular material due to traffic and environmental effects, which are also influenced by the durability of the material. Weak Subgrade The weak subgrade is considered to be a soft, stress-softening material that offered poor support to the overlying structure. The nonlinear coefficients that the researchers assumed for this material resulted in modulus values that range from 7 to 10 ksi. Materials that fall under this category include wet clay, poorly compacted sand, or any other material with high plasticity and relatively high moisture content (Jooste and Fernando, 1995). Stiff Subgrade The nonlinearity constants assumed for this material resulted in modulus values that range from 12 to 20 ksi. Researchers consider this range to be representative of fairly stiff and well compacted subgrade materials. The stiff subgrade can also denote a lightly stabilized, poor quality material. 18

29 ASSUMPTIONS ON TRAFFIC LOADS While superheavy load analysis is concerned with evaluating whether or not a given pavement will experience shear failure under one pass of a superheavy load, overweight truck route analysis looks at the potential for premature failure under repeated applications of axle loads higher than legal, and exceeding the load magnitudes for which the pavement was originally designed. Thus, the engineer needs to characterize the existing as well as the expected overweight truck traffic to predict pavement performance along a route being considered for routine overweight truck use. The decision to permit overweight trucks can then be made on the basis of the minimum time the engineer wants to have before the route needs to be resurfaced. If the predicted service life is greater than or equal to the minimum time before the next resurfacing, routine overweight truck traffic can be permitted. Otherwise, the need for initial rehabilitation is indicated to accommodate the overweight trucks expected to use the road. Alternatively, the engineer can find and evaluate another route, or decide against permitting overweight trucks, if this is an option. In developing the charts, researchers made the following assumptions on the distribution and load characteristics of permitted and non-permitted (legal) trucks: Truck traffic consists of Class 9 (3S2) and Class 10 (3S3) trucks as illustrated in Figure 5. The authors are of the opinion that this assumption is reasonable based on the observation that 3S2s are the primary trucks used by transport carriers. Thus, in developing the Level I charts, 3S2s were used to represent the legal truck traffic. In addition, researchers observed that the permitted trucks in Brownsville are either 3S2s or 3S3s. Consequently, permitted (overweight) trucks were represented by both of these classes according to the distribution given next. Among the permitted trucks, the researchers found 3S2s and 3S3s to comprise 45 and 55 percent, respectively, of the overweight truck traffic based on a review of the permits issued by the Port of Brownsville. Axle weights on permitted trucks were established based on the 90 th percentile of the axle weight distributions evaluated from permits issued by the port authority. Researchers note that each truck is weighed at the port before permits are issued to verify that the axle and gross vehicle weights do not exceed the allowable limits for the overweight truck route shown in Table 1. The measured weights are then recorded on the permits. Researchers used the data to determine the weight 19

30 Figure 5. Truck Classes Considered in Developing Level I Charts. corresponding to the 90 th percentile of the weight distribution for each truck axle. These weights were then used to predict pavement life for the range of pavements covered by the Level I charts. Table 4 shows the representative axle weights for the legal and overweight trucks considered in developing the charts. For the legal or nonpermitted trucks, researchers assumed the legal tandem axle weight limit of 34 kips for the drive and trailer axles. Researchers then established the steering axle weight such that the sum of the truck axle weights equals the legal GVW limit of 80,000 lbs. The weights in Table 4 are assumed to be equally distributed among the tires comprising a given axle group. Researchers used a lateral spacing of 14 inches between the dual tires at each end of the drive and trailer axles. In addition, a spacing of 48 inches was assumed between the axles of the drive and trailer axle groups. Each wheel load was represented as a uniform contact pressure of 100 psi acting over a circular area with radius equal to: r P = (4) 100π where, r = radius of the contact area in inches, and P = tire load in lbs. The authors consider the preceding assumptions to be reasonable and appropriate for the intended use of the Level I charts as a tool for initial screening of alternative overweight truck routes. Application of the charts requires relatively less information from the engineer. However, if the engineer wants to use a different truck distribution or specify other representative axle group weights, the OTRA program can be used to do the analysis. If route-specific data are available, the engineer should consider using the OTRA program in lieu of the Level I charts. 20

31 Table 4. Axle Weights Used in Developing Level I Charts. Truck Class Axle Weight (kips) Steering Drive Trailer Class 9 (legal) Class 9 (permitted) Class 10 (permitted) ANALYSES CONDUCTED TO DEVELOP CHARTS Researchers developed charts for evaluating candidate truck routes for four different combinations of the material types presented earlier in this chapter. The combinations represent particular pavement groups identified as follows: Group 1: AC over weak base over weak subgrade Group 2: AC over weak base over stiff subgrade Group 3: AC over stabilized base over weak subgrade Group 4: AC over stabilized base over stiff subgrade Within each group, a range of pavement structures was analyzed that covered different combinations of surface and base thicknesses. For each pavement, the allowable number of load repetitions was predicted based on the traffic load assumptions presented previously and using the Asphalt Institute (1982) performance models for fatigue cracking and rutting. These models are given by the following equations: c ( N ) = f 2 r ( ) = N f 9 ac ε E 1 ε sg ac (5) (6) where, (N f ) c = allowable number of load repetitions based on fatigue cracking, (N f ) r = allowable number of load repetitions based on rutting, ε ac = predicted tensile strain at the bottom of the AC layer, E ac = asphalt concrete modulus, and ε sg = predicted vertical compressive strain at the top of the subgrade. 21

32 Equation (5) predicts the number of load applications prior to development of 20 percent fatigue cracking based on total pavement area, while Eq. (6) predicts the number of load repetitions to a limiting rut depth of ½ inch (Asphalt Institute, 1982). In the analyses, the strains induced under loading were determined at a number of lateral offsets beneath the wheel loads. These positions correspond to the edge and middle of the tire for the steering axle. For the tandem and triple axle assemblies, the strains were predicted at the outside tire edge, middle of the tire, inside tire edge, and midway between the dual tires of the lead axle, and at these offsets at a distance corresponding to half the axle spacing. Additionally, for the triple axle assembly, the strains were predicted at these lateral offsets beneath the dual tires of the middle axle. Researchers used the maximum predicted asphalt tensile strain and subgrade vertical compressive strain to predict the allowable number of repetitions based on fatigue cracking and rutting criteria. The predicted allowable numbers of axle load repetitions for a given pavement and distress criterion were used to determine the unit service life consumption according to the following equation: (% ) + legal ( N ) ( N ) ( N ) f steering f drive f trailer 3S2, legal (% % ) + overwt. 3S 2, overwt. ( N ) ( N ) ( N ) f steering f drive f trailer 3S 2, overwt (% ( N ) ( N ) ( N ) f steering f drive f trailer 3S 3, overwt. % ) overwt. 3S 3, overwt. (7) where, (N f ) i = predicted allowable number of repetitions for the i th axle of the given truck, % legal = percent of legal or non-permitted trucks, % overwt. = percent of overweight or permitted trucks, % 3S2, overwt. = percent of overweight trucks that are 3S2s, and % 3S3, overwt. = percent of overweight trucks that are 3S3s. Equation (7) gives the average service life consumed per truck application, weighted according to the percentages of the different trucks considered in developing the Level I charts (Table 4). This weighted average is referred to herein as the unit service life consumption. 22

33 For each of the four pavement groups, researchers then developed charts for estimating the unit service life consumption based on fatigue cracking and rutting criteria. Equation (7) shows that this quantity is a function of the expected distribution of legal and overweight trucks, indicating that different curves might need to be established for various estimates of the expected split between legal and overweight trucks. Consequently, researchers initially examined the sensitivity of the predictions of unit service life consumption to the distribution of legal and overweight trucks. For this analysis, researchers considered the following four possible distributions: 80 percent legal and 20 percent overweight (80/20 split), 70 percent legal and 30 percent overweight (70/30 split), 60 percent legal and 40 percent overweight (60/40 split), and 50 percent legal and 50 percent overweight (50/50 split). To show the full range of the variation in the predicted unit service life consumption with the assumed truck distribution, predictions were also made for the extreme cases of 100 percent legal (100/0 split) and 100 percent overweight (0/100 split). A 100/0 split represents the base condition, while the other extreme corresponds to a dedicated overweight truck route, which researchers consider to be an unlikely scenario. The authors note that these limiting cases were primarily considered to provide a frame of reference for evaluating the predictions corresponding to the four possible distributions identified above. Among the overweight or permitted trucks, researchers assumed a 45/55 split between 3S2s and 3S3s as explained earlier. Figures 6 to 9 illustrate how the predicted unit service life consumption varied with the different truck distributions considered in the analysis. The figures show curves for Group 1 (weak) and Group 4 (strong) pavements, which represent the extreme cases considered in the development of the Level I charts. Note that a constant base thickness of 12 inches was used to construct the curves. All figures are drawn to the same scale for comparison purposes. From the charts shown, the following observations are made: For a given distress criterion, the predicted service life consumption per truck application is greater for the weak than for the strong pavements considered in the analysis (i.e., for the same layer thicknesses and traffic loads, the pavement made of weaker materials is predicted to fail earlier). 23

34 Figure 6. Effect of Truck Distribution on the Predicted Unit Service Life Consumption Based on Fatigue Cracking (Group 1 Pavements). Figure 7. Effect of Truck Distribution on the Predicted Unit Service Life Consumption Based on Fatigue Cracking (Group 4 Pavements). 24

35 Figure 8. Effect of Truck Distribution on the Predicted Unit Service Life Consumption Based on Rutting (Group 1 Pavements). Figure 9. Effect of Truck Distribution on the Predicted Unit Service Life Consumption Based on Rutting (Group 4 Pavements). 25

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